Besides residing in some of the fairest weather in all the land, Southern California weddings have a MAJOR thing going for them, that would be the free and utterly breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific. A simple beach wedding, there’s nothing quite like it and Becky Lew Photography knocked this one out of the park. See all of her gorgeous photographs in the FULL gallery.

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From the Bride… Jason and I met at art college. We had been together four years when Jason proposed. We both wanted a short engagement, as we were so excited to start our lives together as husband and wife. Jason and I planned a intimate beach wedding. Our wedding was very artsy, DIY and organic, just like our relationship. The wedding was at Crystal Cove State Park. We live close by the park and enjoy it together on a weekly basis. Crystal Cove is such a magical location. Our ceremony was nontraditional in the sense that I had close friend read a poem that I wrote to Jason, and I asked our mothers to say a blessing at the end. My older and younger sister were my bridesmaids and the groom’s best man was his childhood best friend. The flower girl and the ring bearer seen in the photos were my nephew and niece. Prior to the wedding, we spent our weekends painting along the shore. Together we created small landscape paintings of Crystal Cove. We displayed our paintings as centerpieces on our reception tables and had a silent action for the artwork. The winners of the silent auction got to bring home a piece of Crystal Cove and of us. As table favors, my groom’s mother made peppermint hand lotions. Our outdoor reception was at Laguna College of Art and Design, the art college where we meet.

For the beach decor, rather than spending money printing programs for the ceremony, I found a inexpensive, ornate frame at a local thrift store and painted it coral. I then painted a board with chalkboard paint and placed it in the frame. I hand-drew the welcome message and wedding party information. I made the aisle runners, and I tied my cut fabric strips around thick twine rope (very inexpensive and easy to set up on the sand). The rope was nailed into dowel rods that we bought at the local hardware store. I made the ring bearer pillow with burlap and twine. I upcycled a old Christmas basket by painting it white and hot gluing twine around it and found shells to put in the basket. The ribbon wrapped around on my bouquet was from my great grandmother’s wedding dress. Succulents used in my floral arrangements were collected from my florist’s backyard, which made me so happy and saved me money on the cost of flowers. After the wedding I replanted them, and now they decorate our new apartment.

Shortly after my engagement, I started searching for dresses. I found my wedding dress in the Midwest while visiting my groom’s family. I saved a tremendous amount of money by purchasing my dress off the rack from from The Bridal Shoppe in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. When I bought the dress, it was two sizes to big, had no tags, and there was a sizable tear on the inside of the gown. Even though I had tried on twenty or more designer gowns, my heart was set on the torn dress. I loved the idea of making something “broken” beautiful again. So I purchased the dress, packed it in my overstuffed suitcase and flew home to Southern California, hopeful that I could find a good tailor. Once home, I asked my friends and co-workers for tailor shop recommendations. I needed to find a professional shop that was affordable as the alterations had to fit into my wedding budget. I settled on a small tailor shop in Corona del Mar, California, called Tailor and Tuxedo. The shy seamstress who fitted my dress was kind and helpful. I left my torn dress with her and hoped for the best. I returned to her small shop three weeks before my wedding. The dress she created fit flawlessly. I couldn’t have been more happy. My wedding day was more than memorable and I cherished every moment in my dress.

Wedding Photography: Becky Lew of Becky Lew Photography / Photography Assistant: Janet Mitchell / Ceremony: Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach, California / Reception: Laguna College of Art and Design in Orange, California / Floral Design: Beverly Walker of The Flower Stand / Officiant: Bill Robison / Guitarist: Mike Isberto / Wedding Invitations: The Bride & Groom / Wedding Invitation Photo: Becky Lew Photography / Custom Invitation Stamp: 2impress / Peppermint Hand Lotion Favors: Jean Kowalski (The Groom’s Mother) / Centerpiece Oil Paintings: Jason Kowalski (The Groom) + Maria Dudley (The Bride) / Ceremony Information Frame, Aisle Runners, Ring Bearer Pillow + Sea Shell Basket: DIY by the Bride / Wedding Gown: The Bridal Shoppe / Wedding Dress Alterations: Tailor and Tuxedo (949-675-5630) / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal / Hair: Abby Pingle / Makeup: Melissa Caufield-Breunig